Dispatch from Crame No. 959: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on Duterte’s failure of leadership on Super Typhoon Rolly

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Super Typhoon ‘Rolly’, which hit the Bicol region the hardest on Nov. 1, left the land where I hail from with 24 fatalities and over P11 billion worth of combined damages to infrastructure and agriculture.

Prior to the onslaught of the world’s strongest typhoon so far this year, we were supposed to be assured with measly standby funds of P879 million, while billions remain untouched in the contingent fund of a President said to have been monitoring the devastation from Davao.

Truly reflective of Duterte’s management style, the national government held its first high-level briefing on ‘Rolly’ hours AFTER the super typhoon has already made landfall twice.

Adding insult to injury, the presidential mouthpiece imagined the public to be grateful that government officials showed up even on a Sunday, when in fact, the President from Davao could not even be bothered to attend said belated briefing via videoconferencing, at the very least.

Bilang sarong Bicolano, nahihibi ako sa dai pagtao nin prayoridad asin importansya sa pinag-aagihan kan mga Bicolano ngonian. Missing-in-action na ngani habang dinidistroso kan bagyo an satong banwa tapos siya pa ang anggot satuya kan magpahiling na siya. Mayo talaga sa lugar na inapod pa kitang ugok.

(Bilang isang Bicolano, talagang nakakaiyak sa galit ang pagbabalewala ng pangulong ito sa hirap na pinagdaanan ng mga kabababayan ko ngayon. Missing-in-action habang nananalasa ang bagyo tapos siya pa ang galit pagbalik niya. Tayo pa ang tinawag na ugok).

In the succinct words of former Sen. Sonny Trillanes, a fellow Bicolano: “tamad lang talaga sya at walang pakialam sa mga Pilipino”.

In stark contrast to this is the inspiring and uplifting leadership of another Oragon, VP Leni Robredo, who hit the ground running, visiting and helping out the affected communities.

Duterte’s aerial inspection the day after Bicol was hit does little to assuage the backlash from the trending topic of #NasaanAngPangulo. The image of him sleeping in his bed, under the cover of a kulambo, is really, and sadly, the symbol of Duterte’s failure of leadership, especially during times of crisis.

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 959 here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatchno959)

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